Clutch and track conditions prove challenging for the #99 Kenda Porsche.
MILWAUKEE, WI (August 9, 2012)—Jeff Courtney and #99 Kenda Tires/RecStuff.com Porsche came into the Mid-Ohio double header with high hopes of redemption following a hard crash at the course in 2011. It was a year ago that a brake failure resulted in a spectacular crash in front of the Kenda Tires hometown sponsor crowd. “I was hoping to come back to the track and make things right!” said Courtney, “I love this track! My first pro race win came here, but obviously my luck has changed [at this track]”.
Carl Jensen (center) visits with Nick Esayian and Jeff Courtney on the grid (Mark Weber photo)
The race weekend began on Thursday with a promoters’ test day. “We spent all day working on set-up, even though it was very hot and humid which made for a pretty slick track we were pretty happy with the direction we were heading,” said Courtney.
The JCR Motorsports/TruSpeed team experienced a clutch problem which proved to linger throughout the Friday afternoon qualifying and race #1 on Saturday.
“The crew worked hard to get the clutch replaced before final qualifying. When we were headed to the grid [on Saturday] we found we had yet another problem with the clutch matching up with the flywheel,” explained Courtney, “Just 40 minutes before the start of qualifying, the TruSpeed crew did an unbelievable job, pulling the transmission and changing yet another clutch in less than 40 minutes.”
“With cold tires we were unable to get a good qualifying lap in, but we did get a lap or two for shake-down purposes,” explained Courtney, “The TruSpeed team had no other options at the time but to attempt to repair our original clutch while searching for a new clutch.”
“All the extra effort by the TruSpeed guys, sadly, did not pay off when on the opening lap of Saturday’s race the clutch failed and the race was over for the #99 Kenda Tires/RecStuff.com Porsche.
Things looked up on Sunday with the arrival of a new clutch. This optimism was offset by heavy rains.
“I like rain races but it had been a few years since I raced in the rain and think our Porsches are the only cars without traction control,” said Courtney, “those factors kept me from salvaging some kind of successful weekend.”
Do to the DNF in Saturday’s race the #99 Kenda Tires/RecStuff.com Porsche started last on Sunday. The Sunday race started with an opening lap caution that left the field running under a yellow caution flag for nine laps. “Once we got to racing, there was plenty of action, just keeping the car on track and off other competitors,” said Courtney, “We finished Sunday’s race in a respectable 10th place. All things considered, we moved forward and the car is in one piece. I think for whatever reason we were dealt a pretty tough hand this weekend. We survived it and we will be better for it moving forward.”
The race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be broadcast by NBC Sports, Saturday, August 25th at 1:30-3PM eastern. Note, time and date subject to change. View live streaming on www.world-challengeTV.com the day of race and continuously on demand after races.